Submitted to: International Journal of Pest Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2004
Publication Date: 4/20/2004
Citation: Nyankanga, R.O., Wein, H.C., Olanya, O.M., Ojiambo, P.S. 2004. Farmers' cultural practices and management of potato late blight in kenya highlands: implications for development of integrated disease management. International Journal of Pest Management. 50 (2) : 135-144
Interpretive Summary: Management of potato late blight in the highlands of Kenya is often impeded by multiple potato-based cropping systems and inadequate disease management options. A systematic survey in the major potato producing regions of Kenya was conducted with the objective of assessing farmers' management practices and identifying areas where integrated late blight management can be improved. The important management components identified which could be used to improve late blight control include: sources of inoculum, fungicide application technology, quality seed, disease development in relation to weather variables, and integration of disease management practices. Grower education and improved knowledge accessibility can enhance late blight management practices.
Technical Abstract: A questionnaire survey of 277 farmers in three major potato-growing areas of Kenya was conducted in 2000 and 2001 with the objectives of assessing farmers' current practices for late blight management and knowledge in order to identify points of potential intervention for integrated disease management (IDM) programs. Most farmers (54%) identified late blight as the most serious biotic constraint. Many farmers were able to recognize foliar symptoms of late blight but there was an evident lack of knowledge of tuber and stem infection, causes of leaf, stem and tuber infection, different sources of inoculum, and accurate diagnosis of the disease. The majority of farmers (81%) associated the disease with wet weather. Application of fungicides, mostly mancozeb and metalaxyl was the main method of control. High cost of fungicide, poor application techniques, and preferences for susceptible cultivars were among the reasons contributing to inadequate control of late blight. The problem of late blight was one of several constraints that growers faced which also included lack of quality seed, markets, storage and prevalence of bacterial wilt. Improvement of late blight control could be achieved by enhancing farmers' knowledge and deploying IDM practices involving a multidisciplinary approach, which encompasses addressing other production constraints.